Five Reasons Why Every Day Should be National Hunting and Fishing Day

Guest post by Steven Rinella, host of MeatEater. Tune in on Sunday nights at 9:30 pm E/P. For more information, visit http://themeateater.com

Five Reasons Why Every Day Should be National Hunting and Fishing Day.

1) Because hunting and fishing teach us where our food comes from. In the U.S., there is an ever-increasing detachment between consumers and the sources of our nutrition. Hunting and fishing for one’s own meals helps to close that gap, and teaches us to respect the labor, skills, and resources that go into producing safe, sustainable meals.

2) Because hunting and fishing teaches respect for the land. The logical outcome of a good day in the woods or on the water is a desire to repeat it; doing so requires us to leave our hunting and fishing grounds in better shape than we found them. As the famed novelist and bird hunter Jim Harrison once said, “the predator husbands his prey.”

Author Steven Rinella

3) Because hunters and fishers put our money where our mouths are. Right now we’re celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act, a landmark piece of legislation that changed how conservation is funded in the United States. Through excise taxes on firearms and other sporting goods equipment, outdoorsmen and outdoorswomen put forward about 250 million dollars annually that is strictly allocated to state fish and game agencies. Take Michigan, for example. In 2011, 74% of the Michigan Department of Natural Resource’s 27-million dollar budget came from Pittman-Robertson funding along with fees collected through hunting and fishing licenses. That money went directly into improving wildlife habitat, managing wildlife populations, enforcing laws that protect wildlife, hunter education, and wildlife research.

4) Because hunting and fishing teach us how to handle uncertainty. Outdoor trips can be dicey enterprises, and even carefully planned excursions can be thwarted by bad weather, competition from others, and the unpredictable habits of wild fish and animals. Dealing with these conditions provides a valuable lesson: Plan as carefully as you can, accept that your plans will probably go awry, and then forge ahead.

5) Because hunting connects us to our heritage. For the vast majority of human history, we existed as hunters and fishermen. Through time, our bodies were literally shaped by the requirements of the hunt. To experience a day in the field, chasing fish or game, is to understand something deep and lasting about yourself.

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